Song of the God-Danglers

(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)


This morning, after I awoke, and long before I got out of bed, I began imagining a travel guide for people visiting my island. In this guide, I would introduce travelers to three groups of people they’re likely to encounter: God-deniers, God-fearers, and God-danglers.

You’ve probably never heard of God-danglers. These people may or may not utter the curse “God dangle it!” In fact, many of them would be far too proper for something so close to profanity. The term “God-dangler” originally* referred to people who wear a chain with some form of religious pendant. And—this is important—they wear it AS a talisman. In other words, they think of God as their magic charm.

But a pendant is close to the heart, and it’s important to understand that God isn’t really close to the heart of God-danglers. That’s when it occurred to me that God-danglers sometimes dangle swords at their sides. Swords, like talismans, are something people rely on to get their way.

So there you have the complete history of the term “God-danglers.” These are people who don’t technically DENY God. They also don’t really FEAR God. Rather, they see God as someone they’d better dangle along to insure they get their way while getting’s to be got.


*meaning five minutes into my flight of fancy

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